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Coastal Livelihoods: A visual anthropology exhibit by Zana Mody

August 30, 2023


Photography Exhibit: Aug 30 – Sept 29, 2023
Opening Reception: Aug 30, 2023 5:00pm RSVP NOW

Approximately 3.3 billion people around the world rely on fish and seafood as their primary source of protein and for their local economies, yet the methods for catching fish vary greatly in their impacts on the marine ecosystems. The Liu Lobby Gallery presents a month-long exhibition featuring the photography of Liu Scholar and IRES PhD student Zana Mody, visually demonstrating the diversity of small-scale fishing practices in two remote regions of the Global South.

Opening Reception: Join us on Wednesday August 30 at 5:00pm for refreshments, a discussion with the artist, and a short talk by special guest Dr. Rashid Sumaila—winner of the 2023 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement—who will be joining us virtually via zoom. RSVP NOW

About the exhibit

Zana Mody’s images portray the intricate ways that coastal communities depend on the ocean and how vulnerable they are to the escalating environmental threats of fish stock declines, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, and climate change. These images were captured in the rural coastal communities of Otuam, Ghana and Sundarbans Islands, West Bengal, India – two communities where fishing and marine resources form the social, cultural, and economic backbones of the regions. The visual anthropology of fishing communities can also advocate for the rights of these communities to cultural fishing practices that are not as damaging to fish populations or as wasteful as large-scale fishing industries while providing nuance to the roles that fisheries play in supporting local food economies in the global south. This work is in line with the Liu Institute’s mission on connecting interdisciplinary research fields and increasing public awareness of global issues through a lens on case studies. Policy decisions made by governments in the Global North and South have significant impacts on the coastal livelihoods of remote communities everywhere, while their stories, voices, and cultural livelihood practices are largely unknown outside of their local context.

Zana Mody is Ph.D. Student at the UBC IRES department and a recipient of the Tri-Council SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, a Liu Scholar, and a Public Scholar. Her interdisciplinary PhD research combines social-ecological systems, community-led conservation, and relational values frameworks to understand how blue carbon projects and coastal ecosystems, such as mangrove forests, impact the livelihoods and well-being of coastal communities vulnerable to climate change. She holds a Joint-Honours BSc. In Biology and Environmental Studies and a MA in Anthropology, both from Trent University. She has previously worked as a journalist and producer at the CBC Radio Toronto, a lecturer in anthropology and ecology at the College of the Rockies, and developed and managed the Ocean Pathways program at Ocean Wise. Zana is an aspiring photographer and is interested in visual anthropology methods to tell better stories about the impacts of human cultural practices on natural systems, with a strong focus on everyday conservation and climate change issues.

Coastal Livelihoods runs from August 30 – September 29, 2023. The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular building hours, 9am-5pm. It is located in the Lobby Gallery on the first floor of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC (6476 NW Marine Drive)